Lock & Load 2013 - My games in Masters
I recently returned from Privateer Press' annual convention, Lock & Load. Throughout the three day con there were tons of events, ranging from seminars, painting competitions, non-stop casual play and a number of competitive events. I played in the 96-player Masters event, which after 4 rounds of prelims slims down to the top 8 players, who then move on to the three round finals. It required three lists and each must be played at least once throughout the course of the tournament. I brought my Trollbloods and my lists were as follows: List 1 - Calandra - Bomber - Slag Troll - Impaler - Max. Burrowers - Min. Krielstone Bearers + UA - Max. Nyss Hunters - Min. Bone Grinders - Fell Caller - Runebearer - Whelps - Gatorman Witch Doctor - Viktor Pendrake
List 2 - Grim2 - Bomber x 2 - Impaler - Pyre Troll - Max. Scattergunners - Max. Burrowers - Min. Bone Grinders - Chronicler - Runebearer - Whelps
List 3 - Doomshaper1 (Runes of War themed force - tier 4) - Mulg - Earthborn - Axer - Pyre Troll - Runeshapers x 4 - Max. Krielstone Bearers + UA - Janissa - Whelps - Runebearer
I made some changes to my usual Calandra list, as I only wanted one two-Bomber list and that was already the plan for Grim2. I included the Slag for the usual reasons (the damage buff animus and it's great at shooting non-living things), but swapped the usual Fennblades with Nyss, as the Fenns often don't perform as I would like and too often can't contribute without dying shortly thereafter. The only other new(ish) addition was the Witch Doctor, as he's great for both Burrowers and Nyss, as well as Pendrake, as in conjunction with Star Crossed, he can really mess with warbeasts and he's simply a solid 2 pt solo. This was the most pillow-fisted of my three lists, as the only thing that could semi-reliably crack armor was a fully buffed Bomber in melee at p+s 18 (though granted Calandra's reroll abilities help quite a bit).
As stated earlier, the Grim2 list is the one I opted to have two Bombers in. For units I went with Burrowers and Scattergunners; both great on the feat turn and both great at gunning down Mortalitied targets. I wanted a damage buff light beast so that if it came down to it (and it did at one point) the Bombers could lay into a high ARM model, with an effective MAT 7, p+s 19. I would gladly have brought the Slag had I an extra point. Didn't bring a Fell Caller, as neither unit really needs it to be effective, but did bring a Chronicler, as both units like the buffs and if needed he can tell a story to the Hunters Grim. The Runebearer and Bone Grinders were present to assist Grim with Mortality.
My third list was a tier 4 Doomshaper1 themed force and, when going to tier 4, much of it is decided for you. Mine differed from more popular builds in that I only had two heavies, had a Pyre troll for the damage buff and fire immunity and had Whelps, a full KSB unit and a Runebearer. The extra KSB models and Whelps are of obvious use, though I like the Runebearer for Harmonious Exaltation, allowing Doomshaper to be able to use Purification, cast Fortune/Transmute, put a fury back on the KSB and still camp two.
The scenario for this round was Outflank and my opponent, Patrick, was playing Cryx. For his three lists he had Asphyxious2, Deneghra2 and the Witch Coven and, as the ELich list was his only list with the Blood Hag in it, I assumed he would bring that, thus I chose Calandra, as Star Crossed would help hinder his infantry. Instead, he chose:
- The Coven - Kraken - Deathripper x 2 - Helldiver x 2 - Max. Bane Knights - Pistol Wraith x 2 - Warwitch Siren x 2 - Skarlock
He won the roll off and opted to go first, so I put the Nyss opposite the Banes and the Burrowers across from the Kraken. Turn 1 he ran things forward, putting Infernal Machine on the Kraken and Occultation on the Bane Knights. On my turn 1 the Burrowers burrowed (shocking!), the Witch Doctor Zombified the Nyss (and did so every turn thereafter) and Calandra, respecting the Kraken and Pistol Wraiths ranged threat, cast Bullet Dodger on herself and Star Crossed (both were up all game) and moved onto the hill.
On his turn 2 he killed Pendrake with some shots, feated, reburrowed his Helldivers and generally advanced. On my turn the Burrowers popped up and, even with the -2 MAT (and some help from a couple Fate Blessed rerolls) did a couple columns worth of damage to the Kraken. The Zombified Nyss killed a few Bane Knights and Calandra didn't advance much, as I was cautions about a trampling Kraken assassination attempt. I also kept some models in front of her which he'd have to clear to get close to her.
On his next turn the MAT 8 Kraken attempted to sweep+buy attacks on the Burrowers, but due to Star Crossed and a couple tough checks he only got two corpses. The Banes missed their Vengeance attacks and during their activation Star Crossed hosed a couple of them, with one killing a Nyss and the Siren on that side killing another with Venom. One Pistol Wraith killed a Burrower and the Coven hung back, camping 5 and hugging the Egregore. On my turn 3, Calandra feated and kept the same spells going, with the Slag troll and his "weapon master" spit doing some solid damage to the Colossal. As the Burrowers had actually passed their CMD check from the Terrifying Colossal, the Witch Doc continued to Zombify the Nyss. I was prepared to have the Bomber lay into the Kraken as well, but between some good feat rerolls and the softening up it had already taken, the Burrowers were able to wreck the Kraken. The Nyss (who also benefited from Calandra's feat) did a number on the Banes, with Cyllena and another Nyss doing a close-range CRA to take out the Siren. The Bone Grinder leader took out a Wraith with an Arcane Bolt and, bereft of other targets, the Bomber just took out a couple Banes.
There's another round where I get some more attrition going (kill the Skarlock, the other Siren and finish off the Banes) and score a point. He's understandably not feeling optimistic about the way the game's going, so he decides to try to kill Calandra this turn. He gives each 2 focus to one Helldiver and 3 to the other, keeping the rest. The remaining Pistol Wraith kills the Stone Scribe in front of Calandra and he slams her 4" with a Helldiver. The other Helldiver charges her and she uses the 2 fury she was camping to transfer and takes a few damage. He then moves his Deathripper onto the hill and arcs two unboosted Stygian Abyss' at her, the first one doing some more damage (bringing her down to 8 health) and rolling snake eyes to hit on the second one. As he's not contesting either zone, I score two points the end of his turn.
With Calandra alive and the Coven now focusless, I cut for fury, put some fury on the Kriel Stone and run it up towards them while using Spirit Chaser to remove stealth within the stone's aura. Unfortunately, I'm just short of removing the Egregore's stealth, so the Bomber gets Far Strike and throws a boosted bomb at the one destealthed Witch. Fortunately, I hit her and get the rest in the AOE. I boost the damage on the other two Witches (dice -4) and the Egg (dice -9), killing all three. I also scored 2 more control points after the assassination.
The scenario for the second round was Into the Breach and my opponent, Stephen (who I lost to in Speed Machine at last years Lock & Load), was playing Khador. He brought Old Witch, Butcher1 and a third list I can't remember. In any event, I recall thinking that Grim2 was the best to handle his infantry intensive lists. He chose the following:
- Old Witch - Behemoth - Max. Kayazy + UA - Doom Reavers + UA - Max. Nyss - Fenris - eEiryss - Gorman - Wishnailer
Again, my opponent won the roll off and opted to go first (now that I think about it, this occurred every round). He put Weald Secrets and Iron Flesh on the Kayazy and Nyss respectively, had Gorman make smoke to trigger the Witch's prowl and ran everything forward, with Fenris and eEiryss coming up my right flank. On my turn the Burrowers burrowed (shocking!), Grim shot a Doom Reaver, Krump laid down a trap and the unit reformed. Both Bombers got Far Strike and the Bomber to my left killed two Doom Reavers with direct hits, while the one on my right lobbed two bombs at a far away Nyss with one deviating to no where and the other killing one Nyss. The Scattergunners ran up a bit and the Chronicler gave them Tale o' Mists and ran.
On his turn he upkeeps both spells for free and gives some focus to Behemoth. The Kayazy run up my left side and Fenris continues along my right. The Nyss take some shots, but are largely ineffective and Behemoth drifts a couple AOE's, killing a Scattergunner, and Eiryss misses a shot at a Scattergunner in cover. The Witch stealths in Gorman's smoke again and feats, moving to the near edge of the hill. The lead Doom Reaver is the only one in charge range and charges a Scattergunner behind a wall, but misses and they makes their Abomination check. I can't remember how, but my Bone Grinders get taken out. On my turn Burrowers pop up and all my single-wound models plan to hold tight and aim, lest they get eaten by the Witch's feat. Grim feats and casts Mirage on the Scattergunners while Krump walks up to put down a trap and Muggs aims and knocks down Fenris with the net gun; then they all reform. Burrowers and Scattergunners kill 4 Kayazy and 3 Doom Reavers, leaving only the UA. The Bomber by the forest zone tosses a couple Bombs at the Kayazy, killing 1 and leaving the Underboss with 1 health, though more importantly clips a focusless Old Witch with boosted blast damage, doing 9 points. The other Bomber chucks his bombs at Nyss on the hill, deviating to kill Cyllena and Gorman with boosted blast damage, as well as a few Nyss Grunts. The end of my second turn.
On his turn he drops Iron Flesh off the Nyss, but upkeeps Weald Secrets on the Kayazy, who charge, killing a couple Burrowers and a Scattergunner (I make a few tough checks). The Scrapjack runs into the back of the zone, Old Witch casts Avatar of Slaughter on herself, wades into the Burrowers, killing several and then teleports behind Scrappy. The remaining Nyss shoot, forcing a couple tough check on the Scattergunners and two of them CRA to bring Krump down to 1 health. Eiryss snipes him, but he makes his tough check as well and the Doom Reaver UA sprays some stuff. Fenris sacs his action, gets up and walks toward the Bomber, not engaging it. I don't recall what the Behemoth shot at this turn. The end of his third turn.
On my turn Grim upkeeps Mirage, so the Scattergunners Apparition out of melee where they can. The Hunters Grim activate, with Krump placing another trap, Muggs knocking down Fenris again and Grim shooting him and boosting the damage to dehorse him (and he Far Strikes the Bomber by the wall). The Pyre troll then shoots a fully boosted fire spit to finish Fenris off. The Scattergunners that could aim do so, with the rest standing up and shooting; they killed a couple Kayazy, the Doom Reaver UA, a Nyss and Eiryss. The Far Struck Bomber tried to deviate some bombs onto the Witch, but failed to do so and the other Bomber thinned out the Kayazy some more. On his next turn, two Nyss attack the nearby Bomber, doing a bit of damage and the rest CRA my Chronicler (who'd moved into the zone to contest) into oblivion. The Scrapjack with 1 focus attacks the Bomber as well, but misses most of it's attacks. The Behemoth blows up some Scattergunners and the remaining Kayazy stab where they can. The Old Witch teleports Scrappy back to the end of the zone, then casts Murder of Crows in front of her and heals for 2. Wishnailer runs up to engage Krump.
On my next turn Grim upkeeps Mirage and the remaining Burrowers reburrow. The Pyre troll fires a boosted shot at the back of my Bomber, doing a couple damage to it (and setting it on fire), but more importantly the boosted blast damage kills the two Nyss engaging it, with the last two Nyss failing their CMD check. Grim got Harmoniously Exalted by the Runebearer and cast Mortality on the Behemoth, then shot it for 6 damage. Both Bombers focus fire on the Behemoth, boosting only damage rolls and take it out.
On his turn, Old Witch upkeeps MoC and gives 3 to Scrappy. Scrappy goes and puts a good chunk of damage on the Bomber and Wishnailer kills Krump. The Kayazy hold tight and the Nyss rally. He was thinking about porting Scrappy back, but instead cast Iron Flesh on the Old Witch and heals 2 more. This was smart, as if he hadn't I would have just Mage Sighted and started dropping bombs on her, but at DEF 18 that's not at all a reliable option. At this point I'm tabling him, but this has taken it's toll on my clock; I only have 10 minutes to his 24, so I figure I have to go for it or he'll just clock me out. He's healed 4 of the 9 damage she took earlier, but on the bright side she's not camping any focus, so my plan is to hit her with repeatedly with blast damage. First the Burrowers pop up and run near her, but not into melee, not into the Murder of Crows and not too close to each other. If they both die from direct bomb hits (and neither toughs) and she's still alive, there looks to be one Scattergunner I can have reliably (ie, not having to take a free strike) run over to her and be a bomb target as well. The already damaged Bomber in the zone walks out of melee with Scrappy and loses his body and spirit to a free strike, but makes and eats a Whelp to regain them. He throws at the Burrower leader, hits and boosts damage. The Old Witch has 11 health left and I'm at dice -6, so on average I should kill her with three boosted blasts. As it happens I get lucky, rolling triple 6's and killing her straight away.
In round 3 the scenario was Close Quarters and my opponent was Cory, playing Cryx. Unlike my round 1 opponent, all his lists looked equally nasty, with his roster consisting of Skarre2, Deneghra2 and, of course, Asphxyious2. As there were no lists I'd rather see than others, I chose Calandra again, largely for Star Crossed, but also because it had the KSB + UA for spirit chaser and because the Slag Troll is awesome against jacks and undead. He chose:
- Deneghra2 - Deathjack - Nightwretch x 2 - Max. Bane Thralls + UA - Max. Bane Knights - Max. Nyss - Skarlock - Machine Wraith - Orin Midwinter
As with every round, my opponent won the starting roll and chose to go first. The Deathjack was his only AD and he ran it and everything else straight at me, with Deneghra staying solid and camping. On my turn the Nyss got Zombified, the Burrowers burrowed (shocking!), Pendrake ran up and a harmoniously exalted Calandra moved behind the nearby wall (safe from kill boxing herself), cast a boosted Befuddle on the Deathjack to move it 3" closer and put up Star Crossed. With the DJ 3" closer the Bomber and Slag Troll didn't need Far Strike and they combined fire, bringing it down to 8 boxes. Everything else moved up. On his turn 2 I believe he give DJ a few extra focus and it Hell Mouths the Nyss, killing 3 and forcing two tough checks.
Deneghra went incorporeal this turn and she advanced and feated. She may have cast something else, but I can't recall. His Nyss took out Pendrake as well as my remaining Nyss and the bane units advanced. Lastly, Orin Midwinter moved up and used Null Magic. When my turn rolled around the Burrowers popped up amid both Bane units. Calandra went first, putting some fury on the KSB and using her feat. I also would've liked to cast Star Crossed this turn, but Null Magic prevented that. As the Deathjack was still kicking, the Slag troll aimed and finished it off. The Bomber got Far Struck and chucked a couple bombs at the Nyss, killing Cyllena and several others, causing them to fail a CMD check. I had the rear most Burrower pop up within 5" of the Fell Caller, so he gave them War Cry, aimed and sprayed, killing a Bane and toughing another. The Burrowers then proceeded to take a big chunk out of both Bane units, killing 4 Thralls and 5 Knights (as well as killing Midwinter) and the Bone Grinders and Witchdoctor each killed a Nyss via magic attacks.
On his next turn the Banes killed 6 Burrowers (and they actually passed the CMD check), the Nyss rallied, the Fell Caller (who'd toughed on his last turn) died to a Nightwretch shot and Deneghra, solid again, camped and backed up. For the next couple of turns the the attrition slowed a bit, but on his next turn he intended to kill the Stone Scribes contesting my flag and score 3 control points by dominating it with an incorporeal Deneghra. He did indeed end up killing the Stone Scribes with a Hell Mouth, but also inadvertently had Deneghra within 3" of the target, thus pulling herself towards him and through the flag, to the point that she was no longer in base contact with it and thus didn't score.
It seemed like a good time to try to kill her, but then I realized that my Stone Scribe Elder died, leaving me no way to remove Incorporeal. I still made the attempt with a boosted Force Blow, an unboosted Force Blow (from the Runebearer), an Arcane Bolt and a Sac Striked Bone Grinder, but left her with 8 health (she was camping 2 focus). The next turn he finished off the KSB, jammed with the few Nyss he had left and succeeded in scoring 3 control points with a fully camping, corporeal Deneghra. I obviously had to try to kill her this turn, so I freed up the Slag troll, who aimed and fired a fully boosted shot, bringing her down to 2, with the Bomber finishing her off.
For this round the scenario was Incursion and my opponent was Trevor (of the Chain Attack podcast), who was playing Skorne. My thought process about list choice went as follows. His three casters were Makeda1, Hexeris2 and tier 4 Rasheth themed force and if I recall correctly he'd played all three at this point. The only list I hadn't played yet was Doomshaper1, so I made the assumption that he would assume that that was the list I'd be more likely to play, as it's a generally good list and then I'd also not be locked into any list if I were to move on to day two. Assuming this, to me it seemed less likely that he would play his Titan-heavy Rasheth list, as Force Locking Runeshapers could stop beat back and Rampager would be strong for picking off his heavy beasts, largely due to Purification denying him the Locker trick. With that consideration, I assumed he would then be more likely to take Makeda or Hexeris (both of which had more units and less beasts than Rasheth), thus I took Grim, as I liked the matchup against either list. As it shook out, he brought:
- Rasheth - Bronzeback - Gladiator - Sentry - Cannoneer - Min. Beast Handlers - Gatorman Posse - Slaughterhousers - Task Master - Agonizer x 2
This was the list of his that I wanted to face the least, but I had the thought that at least my offense wouldn't be blunted by his feat, as it consisted of all ranged attacks (and Point Blank on the Pygs). As with every game that day, my opponent won the roll off and chose to go first and I chose the side with the hill. Being that it was the first turn, he ran most of his army forward, with Rasheth casting Carnivore on the Gatormen and the Task Master making them tough. On my turn Krump laid down a trap while Grim cast Mirage on the Scattergunners and shot and damaged a Gatorman. A Bomber with Far Strike killed the Gator Grim shot and brought another down to 1 health. The Burrowers burrowed (shocking!) and everything else moved up.
Something very important to note is that, at the end of round 1, the flag on my right disappears. This was unfortunate for me and fortunate for Trevor, as I had significantly more board presence on the right side of the table than Trevor and the bulk of his army was grouped between the left and center flag.
On his turn the Posse prays Dirge of Mists and two charge (killing a couple Scattergunners, who pass their CMD check) and the rest run, getting tough again from the Task Master, who moves up. Rasheth arcs a Sunder Spirit onto the Impaler, boosting damage and rolling great, taking out its spirit, but he mainly did it to deny me Far Strike. Everything else repositioned.
On my turn 2, the Burrowers popped up, the Scattergunners apparitioned out of combat, the Bone Grinders Crafted a Talisman for Grim and Grim feated, cast Mortality on the Sentry and shot the Task Master dead. Now that the Gatormen could be knocked down, Muggs did just that, shooting one with the net gun while Krump just put some damage on another with his blunderbuss. The Runebearer went next, casting his once-per-game spell of Mortality on the Posse by way of the knocked down Gator. The Scattergunners and Burrowers wiped out the Posse and all but two of the Slaughterhousers. A couple Burrowers also put some damage on the Bronzeback, prompting it to hyper aggressively move into melee with them. Here's where I lost my way a bit this turn; rather than focusing fire on the Mortalitied Sentry, all of a sudden the Gladiator started looking like a good target, as it was in both Bombers' threat range and killing it to remove Rush from the rest of Trevor's Titans was very tempting (especially as there was a patch of rough terrain in the middle of the board). So Bomber #1 went for it, hitting with one bomb for mediocre damage and missing with the second one. With that flop of an activation, it suddenly became extremely unlikely that I would be able to take out the Gladiator, so Bomber #2 threw at the Sentry, doing some damage, as did the Pyre Troll. They both also boosted the blast damage on the Agonizer behind the Sentry and left it on fire with 1 health.
On his third turn the fire goes out on the Agonizer and he feats with Rasheth and channels a Breath of Corruption into the Burrowers, killing several, as well as the Slaughterhouser he arced through. The Cannoneer moves base-to-base with the flag and shoots one of the Burrowers that made its tough roll, killing a couple more. Trevor wants to charge the Bronzeback into something and beatback its way to Grim, but there's still one Burrower whose made its tough roll, forcing the Bronzeback to trample. It does so, killing the Burrower and does successfully punch something to beatback into melee range of Grim. Unfortunately for Trevor, its 1" beat back movement takes it out of Rasheth's CTRL area, thus it's activation is done. Trevor scores a point this turn.
On my turn I clearly had to deal with the Bronzeback engaging my caster, so the Runebearer HE'd Grim and Grim cast a boosted Mortality on the Titan. He then shifted a bit and attacked, doing 5 or 6 damage while, I believe, Muggs knocked the Gladiator down with the net gun . The Pyre Troll advances, casts its animus on the Bomber next to Grim and shoots a boosted spit at the nearly dead Agonizer, failing to damage it and reigniting it. The buffed Bomber proceeds to crush the debuffed Bronzeback and I believe (can't recall exactly) that the other Bomber put a couple bombs into the Gladiator. Here's where I made my second significant mistake of the game: the Scattergunners simply ambled around a bit and sprayed, killing a Beast Handler or two and doing a couple damage to the Gladiator. Instead, as they had nothing of great importance to do, they should have just run into the midst of his army, contesting both flags rather than just the center one. The Impaler advanced to further keep the Sentry away from the nearby Bomber and I also ran the Chronicler to try to contest the flag on my left, but brain-farted that the Sentry has reach and he got cut down running by. As I failed to contest, he scored another point at the end of my turn.
On his turn the formerly unkillable Agonizer finally died in a fire. The Gladiator, unbeknownst to me, had it's spirit out and thus couldn't shake and simply stood and shifted a bit. His Sentry moved up and killed both the Pyre and Impaler, I believe after being whipped up by a Beast Handler. I don't recall what the Cannoneer did, but Rasheth camped a bunch (quite possibly at full camp) and ran to the left flag to dominate it. I had been using Whelps to mitigate fury since turn two and was out, thus on my turn the Bomber by the hill frenzied on I believe a Scattergunner. With as many fury as he was camping, I saw no way to kill Rasheth, thus I made the token effort to run the Scattergunners to contest as best they could. Sadly, upon seeing that, at most, two of them needed to die for him to score again, I conceded to Trevor.
Unfortunately that was it for me. As there were 7 undefeated players, that meant that one 3-1 player would be able to move on to day 2, but since two of my victories were by caster kill and netted me no control points beyond the 5 I earned in round 1, I wasn't in the running. I definitely felt that I could have done better in my final game against Trevor, had I both stuck with my original plan of targeting the Sentry rather than get distracted by the Gladiator and if I'd more aggressively moved in to contest the flags. Even though I would have rather faced either of his other lists more than the one he chose, I don't regret my list choice, as looking back on it I believe my assumptions were sound (or as sound as assumptions can be). What I believe was more impactful overall was having the flag on my right disappear; it made life a lot harder for me that game and really advantaged my opponent. Had the flags been reversed I feel I'd have had a significantly better shot at victory, though that's not to take anything away from Trevor, who played a great game and definitely earned the win. Last year I lost in round 3 of Masters to Will Pagani (of Road to War), so hopefully next year I'll make it to day 2 before getting knocked out by another podcaster.